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Friday, August 10, 2007 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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UW Football | Murchison could be done as Husky

Seattle Times staff reporter

Cornerback Jordan Murchison wasn't with Washington when the team practiced in full pads for the first time this season Thursday, and it's unclear if he ever will return.

Huskies coach Tyrone Willingham said Thursday that Murchison "will have nothing to do with the team" for what he called an "indefinite" period in the wake of Murchison's arrest Wednesday for failing to appear for an assault charge that dated to March.

Murchison, who had been expected to contend for a starting job, spent part of Wednesday night in King County Jail after turning himself in at the urging of Willingham, who said he found out earlier in the day that Murchison had missed a July court date.

Murchison was released Thursday morning after posting bond on $10,000 bail. An arraignment was set for next Thursday in King County Court on a second-degree felony assault charge. Murchison is alleged to have punched a man who had been sleeping on the couch at the residence of a woman Murchison had been dating.

The man sustained damage to several teeth, according to police documents.

"As soon as I get sufficient information, I will make the decision on what his participation will be," Willingham said of Murchison.

Murchison also has a Sept. 24 hearing in Seattle Municipal Court on three misdemeanor charges (two assault, one harassment) stemming from a June 4 incident outside a bar on University Way.

He is alleged to have argued with a Pacifica, Calif., woman who had been dating Murchison for five years, according to a Seattle Police Department incident report. According to the report, Murchison grabbed the back of the woman's hair, pulled on it, and threatened her.

After that incident was broken up, the argument apparently renewed and Murchison is alleged to have then blocked the victim in a doorway. A witness reported that he saw Murchison's upper body move as if he was hitting something, then heard the victim crying and saying, "Stop, please stop."

The woman told police Murchison didn't hurt her, but he was arrested for assault and harassment and booked into King County Jail.

Willingham said Thursday he did not know about the June incident.

He said he knew of Murchison's arrest for the March 31 incident shortly after it happened and indicated he thought Murchison was handling it, until he became aware on Wednesday of the missed court date.

"We instructed him of the right things to do, and the young man wanted to do what was right," Willingham said.

Willingham indicated Murchison might not have been aware of the July court date.

Murchison is a senior who arrived at UW as a transfer from City College of San Francisco in 2006. He didn't play last season while nursing an knee injury, but was expected to contend immediately for a starting spot at cornerback opposite Roy Lewis after playing well in the spring.

Murchison is one of 12 junior-college players signed by Willingham at Washington. Four never became eligible, and another, offensive lineman Sir Aaron Mason, was not eligible last season though he is on the roster this year.

Willingham, who had little experience recruiting JC players at Stanford and Notre Dame, said he is not necessarily deterred from transfers, saying, "The key is always the same — it's about finding the right person."

Murchison is the second Husky since last fall to run into significant legal trouble. Michael Houston, a transfer running back from Texas, was suspended and later removed from the team after being accused of stealing a taxi in October. Willingham said he moved faster with a resolution in that case because he had more immediate information.

Murchison's departure, for however long, leaves UW with just five scholarship cornerbacks — Lewis; UCLA transfer Byron Davenport; redshirt freshman Matt Mosley; and true freshmen Vonzell McDowell, a Rainier Beach High grad, and Marquis Persley. Davenport, who has been nursing a sore hamstring, was in full pads Thursday, though apparently not at full speed.

Also in the mix is walk-on Cory Nicol of Woodinville High, who also attended Orange Coast (Calif.) College before coming to UW this year.

Willingham mentioned Nicol and Mosley as the two likely contenders for time in the absence of Murchison and Davenport.

Nicol had an injury-plagued career at Woodinville and OCC, though he had offers from schools such as Eastern Washington and Western Washington. He considered walking on at Boise State before coming to UW.

"I came in with the mind-set that I would play this year, so I'm just going out there trying to make plays so I can get on the field," he said.

Other than the Houston and Murchison incidents, Willingham's program has been largely free of legal trouble since he arrived in 2005.

"You don't want to see any of this, but there are good things we have in this program," he said, pointing out there are more than 100 players (actually 101) on the roster. "There are a lot of good things going on with those other 100 guys."

Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or bcondotta@seattletimes.com. Read his blogs on Washington football and basketball at www.seattletimes.com/huskies

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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